Archive for the ‘participate’ Category

Yesterday, I heard that The Decider was staged to become The Author.

That’s right.  George is writing a book.  And it’s not just the rambling, seemingly unabridged thing we’ve gotten from huge political figures recently.  This book has a theme: the twelve difficult personal and political decisions he has made in his life.

Really, George?  Leak the story about publishing your top 12 now?  We’re about ankle high into an allegedly 100 feet deep recession.  Afghanistan and Pakistan are increasingly more like one tangled conflict-state than individual nations.  And now is the time to wax poetic and sow the seeds of love?


I also tripped across this throwback, thanks to Digg, that reminded me that in 1987, Tom Hanks and Dan Ackroyd rapped in a music video.  Let me repeat that.  Tom Hanks, and Dan Ackroyd, rapped, in a music video.

What does this all mean?

It means limitations be damned.  Bush is writing a book and Tom Hanks and Dan Ackroyd got paid to rap. So, obviously, I’ve been playing life shorthanded and too safe.  I’ve been doing too much risk management.  So I’m going to do one of those 101 in 1001 day list things and create a page for it.

But that’s not the point of this post.

This post is about the miserably uneducated risks I’m thinking about taking, not the substantively life-altering ones I’ll list at another time.  It’s about the things for which I’m likely to make the local news or become a YouTubular sensation.  These are things equivalent to Bush writing a book and Hanks and Ackroyd rapping.

I’ve got a few ideas to start with.  I may come back throughout the day and add more.  Certainly, feel free to suggest some dumbass stuff for me to do.  Even if we’ve never met or you have no idea what I look like.  Think about it: it makes the risk even more ridiculous if it’s not even specially tailored for me.

I’ll get us started.

1. Start a boy band. But we won’t sing, at least not with our voices.  We will sing with our pelvises.  We will lip sync to songs by other actual boy bands of TRL fame while we perform our feature talent: lap dances for ladies.  We will be America’s Best Lap-Dance Crew.  Doubt me?  There is already video footage of a trial run of this.  And yes: we had been drinking.

2. Braids a/o cornrows. I have tried this before.  I even, anti-triumphantly, allowed this to be captured as my NJ driver’s license photo at one point.  This was a disaster.  Me with braids is the very definition of “living beyond one’s means.”  I am not built for braids.  And I have empirical proof.  I looked like a dummy and the 8 hour process felt like raw, no-anesthesia, neurosurgery.  Therefore, doing it again would be colossally moronic.

3. …?


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I thought hard about not doing this post at all.  I’m exhausted and sick today.  But some judgment prevailed – better judgment?  medicated judgment?  who knows.  I haven’t even rewatched it myself since uploading it in a rush.

Somewhere in my kitchen circa 7 am…

Here’s the link to the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure site.  If you haven’t been able to watch the video from wherever you are, the basic gist is that I’m running the Race for the Cure this June and for every person who comments today (“hi” is perfect), I’ll cut 5 seconds off my time.  Promise.  Consider it free sponsorship for a really good cause.

This also seems like a good time to remind any of you interested in joining us for Servathon 2009.  There’s still some time left.

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¡Bienvenidos a Free Verse Friday!  It’s the day when I share something different than banter and prose and hope it reads wherever you are as it sounds when I hear it, here, on my side of the interwebs.

But before we get to the content…

You know those moments in which you expect noise and so it’s the silence that’s alarming?  That pretty much describes why I took down last Friday’s post (temporarily).  It’s ironic, actually.  I took it down because of something I thought, not because of anything that was said; certainly nothing on this blog.  It’s out of context here, and I don’t want to simply rehash the issue, but the text itself read: “…my roommate and I were black.”

Quite obviously, being black is something not subject to change.  And since I’m of the belief that being black is also not learnable behavior or a style capable of emulation, I thought the irrefutably factual nature of the statement would be funny.  I stand by that.  But as with any life’s path, there are things on mine I’m constantly trying to outrun, even if they be spirits some think I concoct out of madness.  And one of those things is the constant sensation that many of the people I’ve met don’t find me black “enough.”

It breaks my heart, but I’m not paranoid about this.  This isn’t systematized delusion.  I’ve been told this, quite frankly, by many people shockingly unafraid to admit they thought so.  And so any, and every, time I step out my front door – literally at home, figuratively on this blog – I wonder how I’ll be perceived by my own.  Because it’s stupidly unfortunate, but I don’t consider it a fair choice to choose to ignore it.  It certainly isn’t that I consciously try to respond to situations “blackly;” again, that’s a fallacy: it can’t be done.  But I do measure observations of my self in the eyes of people.  I take notes.  And so this feeling reared its head last Friday, and I panicked that someone would consider that line I wrote indicative of everything they had come to believe about me: a guy uninterested in being in line with his race.

I took it down because the silence was maddening.  I had posted the link on clandestine-stalker-haven Facebook.  Those of you who read this blog regularly know my advocacy.  But what were other people thinking?  Who read it?  Had I just solidified a reputation I’d never be able to escape?  I still don’t know those answers.  Nonetheless, I soon decided I like my reputation as someone willing to honestly present his self as he sees himself, even in the face of challenge, just fine.

And so I hope the writing below doesn’t seem like a cop out.  It’s something I wrote during college when a girlfriend said she needed to perform, on behalf of her sorority, a poem honoring black men.  I was her ghostwriter.  Posting it is not an attempt to appease anyone who doubts my “allegiance to the cause,” but instead a chance to pound my chest as affirmation of the person many judge too quickly to see.

It’s not that long; so if you read it, thanks.  But if not, I’d still love to hear from you today.  Help me make this post more than just my own story.  I’d love to know about a group or class of people you’re a part of.  Have you ever felt uninvited despite so clearly wearing the membership card across your chest?  Not feminine enough…  Not masculine enough… What have you done when those like the you you can’t change tell you you aren’t them?

As always, thanks for stopping by.

you waltz the room
from the doorway to your table.
you smile quickly, and then it hits me:
i’ve seen you in my dreams.

you’re that knight
in copper-toned, dark chocolate or caramel armor
from a long line of brown-skinned royalty;
whose most precious jewels aren’t the frost around your neck,
but the heart on your sleeve
and that smile that rescues me,
even if just for a moment…
and i can forgive the world
its indiscretions,
the heartache of its misperceptions
and its inability to honor the beauty in our imperfections.

’cause see, the lesson you teach is redemption:
that no dose of depression cures oppression.
so, you walk.
you saunter, in with a swagger,
and i smile through the tears.

’cause who but you
knocked down for everything –
from the sag in your pants
to the curl of your hair,
the way you make love
and the genius they can’t see –
could rise head held high
and march to the rhythm
of his own pomp and circumstance?

you’re so versatile, you adapt
so well they don’t even know it’s an act.
truth is, you’re like Denzel:
washing tons of pain away
for the audience’s sake.
’cause every time you step out your door,
you’re on stage,
trying to convince them
you won’t steal her purse,
that your backpack really does have books without pictures in it,
that you never even jaywalked, let alone shot a man…

but when the award ceremonies come around,
you’re always overlooked.
so this is your award.
you can’t put it on your mantle,
but you can wear it on your soul.
and you can tell your sons
our daughters will always understand.

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Be wherrwy, wherrwy qwiett.  I’m hunting wabbits.


Ok.  Well, not wabbits.  And I guess I’m not really even hunting.  But I may or may not possibly be at work, so you have to keep your voice down.  It’s very officey around here and I don’t wanna get caught being useless.

See, there’s something new in the office kitchen today, or at least something I’ve not seen before.  And I need you – yes, you – to help me figure out why it’s there.

What, pray tell, is this?


I’ll come in a little closer for you.


That’s a Shrek Chia Pet, right?  Ok, good.  I’m glad we’re together on this.  But why?  Why is there a Shrek-faced Chia Pet in the office kitchen?  I’ve got very few ideas on this.  Here they are:

  1. Grab bag gone wrong.  At some point, before my time here, the office Secret Santa “unfortunated” some poor soul with this.*  To get back at the person who gifted it anonymously, the receiver puts it on the counter, clearly absurd and clearly unkempt by default (there’s not a sprout of Chia on that pet!), in order to drive home how awful of a gift this was.
  2. Someone likes it.  This is a stretch, I admit.
  3. This office is like the one from Being John Malkovich.  There must be a little portal-like hole in a wall somewhere, and someone is sneaking through it, messing with the space continuum and planting inexplicable objects in obvious places.

Got anything better?

*Couldn’t avoid the Disney reference: “… you poor, unfortunate soul…”  Guess the movie, win a smile.

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People disappoint. The most surprising part is how they’re so willing to do it.

Like that guy who hustled us out of five bucks Saturday night, during a recession. We were walking Pennsylvania Ave. in Capitol Hill, waiting for a cab around 11:15pm. Dude pulls up in a maroon mini-van with a busted-out window, saying his phone was taken and he needs some cash for gas. We gave him a 5 and literally pointed directly at the gas station less than a block away… so close, that [insert visually challenged celebrity name here] could’ve seen it.

We gave based on my theory for street-based charity: the karmic knife theory. It goes like this:

Doing good things is always right. Abusing my charity is always wrong. So if you abuse my charity, karmic retribution does the figurative equivalent of poking you in the eye with some fashion of blade according to the level of horribleness you reach. So, if you’re that guy who gets my 10 bucks because your clipboard says it’s for shoes for kids, but you then use that money to put gas in a van you use to kidnap kids, the poke karma delivers to your eye is by way of a Rambo knife.*

Saturday, this guy took the money, said thank you, made an immediate left, somehow missed the gas station we then stood there staring at, confused, and drove off to do god knows what. Theory applied: plastic butter knife.

So, coupled with developments earlier in the day, when we got into one of DC’s finest cabs, Miss Bianca was almost looking for a fight.

Enter DC Cab Driver.

You know the prototype: he asks you, “Where is that?” when you say “32 and Q” in a city that is built as a sequential grid.  So, he stayed true to form when we gave him our actual coordinates.

But Miss Bianca was ready for him.  And her tone was the kind of tone I instantly recognized as Code Orange.  Yes: we were on the cusp of a homeland security fiasco.  It was a tone, at the risk of generalizing both sexes, grown men should honor immediately.

But good ol’ DC Cab Driver, as clueless as unable to count to five, struck back with a “Well, I dunno. So, you can get out and find another cab.”  What you can’t hear is that the real-time audio version of that line was delivered in classic asshat-tonal method.  It wasn’t a mea culpa; it wasn’t an “I’m doing my best, and I’m sorry to inform you my best just isn’t good enough tonight.”  It was an “It’s me or you walk home” voice.  But what do cabs do?  They have tires, so they move.  So we were no longer at the corner he found us.  We were en route when he replied to MB that we should consider finding another option.

So here’s where you come in.  What happened next?  Pick door 1, 2 or 3.  Also, keep in mind that there’s no wrong answer.

1. I had him stop the cab. Then I held back Miss Bianca’s hair as she Ralphie-from-“A-Christmas-Story’d” him (read: beat him like the last three people he annoyed wanted to, combined).

2. I read him the “Really? Wanna try it?” Act (2009’s Riot Act), including such zingers as: “Tell me; what’s smaller? Your capacity for basic human interaction or your mastery of the alphabet and numbers 1-10? No, no. Let me guess. Trick question, right? The answer’s ‘yes.'”

3. We took a breath, staying his elimination, and recited the alphabet block by block, conspicuously mockingly, to direct him to our destination.

— —
*Remember, figuratively.

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No Free Verse Friday, today.  But you should keep reading anyway…
— —

I make no apologies for luring you in with that hook of a post-title.  In fact, follow this asterisk* <– that one right there, and I’ll drive it home harder.

But it’s Friday.  The point…

You’re a really, really good person.  No, you’re right: I don’t know this.  Maybe you punt puppies for a hobby and spit at squirrels on Tuesdays.  But I don’t see it.  So I assume the best.

I’m buttering you up for something.  You can smell it.

It’s Servathon 2009.

Angela McMellen

Credit: Angela McMellen

It’s a great community service event we did last year, encouraged by star of blog and life Miss Bianca, and it’s a great idea listed on the One Hundred Ways tab (have you been there yet?).  Organized by Greater DC Cares, people from all over the DC-MD-VA region come together to complete volunteer projects at local nonprofit organizations and public schools.

We went to a public school, just blocks away from our houses, and cleaned up trash, planted… plants, tried to dunk a tennis ball on the basketball court, and petted unicorns.

It was really easy, really fun and actually important.  I promise.  I’m often a skeptical, cynical bastard.  I am.  But when you stand there picking up broken beer bottles from a playground where 10 year-olds run around, you feel better.  You just do.

And there’s an after-event.  Let me rephrase: there will be free food and beer.  And we know what happens when we add those two together: you smile.

So here’s what we’ll do.

You email me (franco.beans@gmail.com) and tell me you want in on being a superhero.  Simple.**  And together, we’ll pick a team name.  Because we gotta have a team name…  And if we get 25+ people to sign up for our team by March 16, the good Servathon folks will even print our team name on our shirts and we’ll be able to remember that first Saturday in May we spent together forever until the t-shirts fade beyond recognition.

So please, please jump onboard.  Sign up with your friend, your husband, your neighbor, whomever.  Maybe you had a New Year’s resolution to make a bigger difference.  Maybe you need to make up for that slew of profanity you yelled at the kid who ran in front of your car last week.  This is your chance to balance the universe a little.

Still on the fence?  Then I’ll pull out the big guns again:


So now that you officially can’t say “no,” my email address, again, is franco.beans@gmail.com.  And my GMail inbox is a pretty cool place to be.  You should send something there; like a “I wanna be a superhero, too” email.


— —


**It doesn’t matter whether you have a blog or not.  Just be able to be in DC on May 2.

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honestly, thanks!

I don’t generally win things.  Unless it involves sports (on courts, fields, or Playstation 3 consoles).

This isn’t a plea for pity.  It’s a character trait.

So when I stopped by one of my new wholehearted-interests, Perfectly Cursed Life, and found my blog’s name tagged as an Honest Scrap Award recipient —

— I did a dance I didn’t capture on video.

The rules: I have to tell you ten honest things – ten facts you could find in an encyclopedia* – about myself in writing and then tag “ten” people to pass it on.  The posts have been kinda long this week.  So, I’m gonna keep this basic.

1. Before law school, the longest I let my hair grow was about 2.5 years.  It was awesomely curly.  Right now, I’m at about 3 months and counting.

2. I often fill boring moments at home by singing the theme song for “Chip ‘N Dale: Rescue Rangers.”

3. I have this thing about being clean: it’s better than being filthy.  This rule applies to house and body.

4. I own 3 guitars.  I want 7 more.

5. I’m watching Top Chef, this very moment.  Andrew from Season 4 just told season 5 that he’d be “peeing on [their] bodies.”  I am admitting I found a way to enjoy this line.  Fact.

6. I finally got the balls to sing + play in front of a group of people on a beach in Cape Cod a couple years ago.  But I found the confidence after opening a bottle of bourbon.  So, uh, yeah.  Forgot. My. Own. Words.

7. I think Don Cheadle is woefully underrated.

8. Despite #7, I still don’t understand Don replacing a willing and able Terrence Howard in the upcoming Iron Man sequel.

9. There is video of me doing a lip-synced performance of Lenny William’s “Cause I Love You” in front of a couple hundred people at GW’s Soul Revue in 2004. 

10. I miss having a dog.

I’m only gonna pick five winners since I think you all read each other’s blogs anyway.  But here goes:

lacochran’s bloggery

Learning to Fly

Plight of the Pumpernickel

If I had to pick five…


*Already, breaking the rules.

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